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Coverage from Channel 5 TV

The crowd numbering several thousand people at the Feb. 9 anti-government EuroMaidan rally in Kyiv.

At the the 12th consecutive Sunday rally, political opposition leaders on Feb. 9 urged people to join EuroMaidan self-defense teams to protect the anti-government demonstrations and tent city on Independence Square from police attacks. 

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko said people can sign up for the self-defense teams through his Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party, while opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko — the nation’s former top cop — called on people to grab baseball bats and helmets to protect the protests that began on Nov. 21 and seek to oust President Viktor Yanukovych.

Other than those calls, the nearly three-hour rally departed little from the routine of traditional prayers, speeches and closing with the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem.


At least several thousand people gathered under cloudy skies and
above-freezing temperatures. The main part of the rally ended at 2:40 p.m.

Ihor Lutsenko, the activist who was kidnapped and beaten last month before being released, said that the attacks on him and other
activists – including journalist Tetyana Chornovol and AutoMaidan leader Dmytro Bulatov –
are not scaring them.

“I understood that they understand nothing about us. They still think we
are paid here or we at least get some material benefits. All their torture is
without any result: Neither me nor Tetyana Chornovol nor Dmytro Bulatov have
stopped. We just walk slower,” Lutsenko joked. 

EuroMaidan activist Ihor Lutsenko who was kidnapped and beaten last month before being released alive.

Political scientist Oleksiy Haran speculated on what transpired in the Feb.
7 meeting between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President
Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia. Neither leader has discussed what happened yet. 

Political scientist Oleksiy Haran

“We all know why Yanukovych went to Sochi – to get a permission to
forcefully disperse our rally, But it won’t work. We all, in all the cities of
UKraine will stand here till the end,” Haran said. The EuroMaidan protests “did a great job in saving
Ukraine’s dignity and get born this new Ukraine, highly respected in the world.” 


Haran also that that the political opposition cannot be allowed to form a government
with Yanuokvych unless there is a constitutional change curbing presidential

Chornovol, a journalist and opposition activist beaten by several men on
Dec. 25, appeared for the first time in public without bandages, a sign that she is
physically healing from the brutal beating that kept her hospitalized for weeks. 

“I know that Yanukovych and Putin are afraid of us, because they simply do
not understand us,” Chornovol said. “They thought it will end on Nov. 30, but
it didn’t. They gave the order to shoot, torture and arrest, but it didn’t work
again. They don’t understand that we are here until the end for our children,
for our parents and just because we are smart.” 

Chornovol called for unity and said that “only people who don’t have
political ambitions should take part in negotiations” to end the nation’s
political crisis. 


Journalist and opposition activist Tetyana Chornovol, who was beaten by several men on Dec. 25.

Singer Ruslana Lyzhychko read threatening messages that she gets on her phone,
telling her to “hide in America otherwise we will shoot you soon.” She said
that the threats started after she advocated for sanctions from the European Union and
America against Ukraine’s leaders. She says she is not afraid: “You cannot
talk to Ukrainians using the language of fear,” Lyzhychko said. “That’s why I stand
and will be standing here.” 

Singer and opposition activist Ruslana Lyzhychko

Yuriy Lutsenko said that “our  beliefs became
stronger than all the bullets, shields, police and everything else. Our plan is stable, the change of power by
cancellation of power usurpation,” Lutsenko said.

He called on people to grab
a baseball bat and helmet to join the EuroMaidan self-defense volunteers. 

Speaking in Russian, Lutsenko said: “Hey east, wake
up, don’t believe them all! The east of Ukraine should stand up and we’ll say
together: Glory To Ukraine!”


Opposition leader and ex-Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.

Oleksandr Turchynov, the
former deputy prime minister and opposition Batkivshchyna Party leader, said: “They
can cover Maidan with blood but they can’t close Maidan down. And now they don’t
use force not because they are kind, but because they understood that they can’t
overcome Maidan with force.” 


leader Petro Poroshenko, a millionaire businessman and member of parliament, promises
political leaders “will fight for the life and happiness of each and every
person.” He says that the EU has declared sanctions and promised to implement sanctions.

Millionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko, a member of parliament and opposition leader.

Klitschko spoke, saying that constitutional reforms are  no longer enough. “Now people demand one thing – early presidential elections,” Klitschko said.

Klitschko also said he has agreed to publicly debate Yanukovych. He called on people to enroll in EuroMaidan self-defense groups and asked every to hang Ukrainian flags and ribbons in homes “so everyone would see that there are so many of us.”

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko

Batkivshchyna Party opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said: “The nation said, we are not afraid, you be afraid of us. Now we have to think of what is going to happen after Yanukovych. Someone said he has power. No, he has only the presidential cabinet and his small tribe. But power in Ukraine belongs to those who people give it to. We want this country to change the system.”

Yatseniuk said that “anyone who gets the presidential power should know that his powers are limited by the people’s will. He should know that he is controlled by parliament that gets its power directly from people. The main pont of our constutional reform project is to give the right to rule back to people.”


“We are strong when we are united,” Yatseniuk said. “This is the word we that will make us the winners.”

He said he was fed up with press conferences, negotiations and dead-end parliamentary votes “that don’t work. Our victory is through Maidan only. The real power is here at Maidan. But every day we gather and protest they steal from the country. Just imagine, every single day.” He said that Ukraine’s national debt has increased to $72 billion in a short period of time.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk.

Opposition leader Oleh Tiahnybok announced a moment of silence in honor of of the EuroMaidan revolution’s victims, which number at least five people. “Ukraine has already changed inside, we fight our fear, we are different,” Tiahnybok said.

“Those authorities are trembling now, they wanted to turn on their totalitarian machine but they no longer can. Now that pay for support even in Crimea. Now the world knows that we, Ukrainians, can chhange not only Ukraine but can turn upside down the whole world,” Tiahnybok said.

Ukraine needs financial help from the EU and needs the money stolen by Yanukovych and his gang back, Tiahnybok said. “People should rule the country,” he said.


Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tiahnybok.
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